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DISD Releases "2.0" Budget Proposal

New budget proposal includes Rainy Day Fund money, furloughs, salary reductions and increase class sizes

Thursday, Mar 10, 2011  |  Updated 10:53 PM CDT
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For the second time in a matter of weeks, the <a title=Dallas Independent School District is taking another look at it's 2012 budget. DISD slides more than $100 million off its debt." />

Kim Fischer,

For the second time in a matter of weeks, the Dallas Independent School District is taking another look at it's 2012 budget. DISD slides more than $100 million off its debt.

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A month after releasing a "worst-case scenario" budget, the Dallas school district released another budget proposal Thursday.

The Dallas Independent School District's second plan, deemed "version 2.0," uses an assumption of a $150 million reduction in state funding. The budget proposal assumes that the district will have money from the state's Rainy Day Fund and from cost reductions that require legislative approval.

The worst-case budget was based off a $253 million reduction in state funding.

The version 2.0 budget assumes that legislators will tap the Rainy Day Fund, with DISD receiving $40.2 million from it.

Republican Rep. Jim Pitts, the House's chief budget writer, is proposing using at least $4.3 billion from the reserve fund, but faces strong opposition from fiscal conservatives.

Perry recently met with House Republicans to urge them to not rush to use the money. However, his legislative director said Thursday that the governor is open to using the fund.

The Rainy Day Fund, made up of deposits from oil and gas taxes, is expected to have more than $9 billion by the end of the next budget period.

DISD's version 2.0 budget also includes three items that require legislative approval: furlough days, salary reductions and increased class sizes in elementary schools.

In DISD's version 2.0 budget, more than 1,7000 employees could face layoffs -- 12.8 percent of teachers and 26 percent of administrators. The worst-case budget would cut 3,900 employees.

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said the teachers who took the district's voluntary resignation incentive cut the budget's assumed $150 million shortfall by about a third.

The version 2.0 budget is also based on increased state revenue assumptions and a deferral of state expenditures.

The state faces a revenue shortfall of about $27 billion once population growth and cost increases are counted. Initial proposals for the next two-year state budget would spend almost $10 billion less on schools than required by law.

DISD's final budget has to be approved by June 23, and teacher contracts have to be signed by mid-April. But no one knows when legislators will approve the state budget that will tell districts how much money they will have.

NBC DFW's Kim Fischer and The Associated Press' April Castro contributed to this report.

More: Read DISD's Budget Reduction Plan Version 2.0

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